Landing in the port city of Alexandria, the team makes some local contacts, in case needed, with members of the Grey Wolves Maffiya, and calls in an Exchange favor to find a local safehouse. Toff heads for the Library immediately to link up with Barnaby “Wombat” Rudd and do some further research into the secrets they uncovered about the The Black Lodge. The rest of the team scouts out the Apep Consortium digsite at the Pyramid of Unis. They research the pyramid texts, and find hints that Unis was an early 5th age figure of great power, who seemingly tried to use blood magic to lengthen his life and gain power. He was colloquially known as “the eater of the gods.”
They think it possible that Unis was a descendant of the Theran survivors known as Heavenherds, disciples of the School of Shadows, and a powerful magical society within Theran society, who had a laboratory and citadel in the Egyptian reason late in the 4th world. Reports from the Zulu Nation in Azania suggest that a magical order within that Elven society has begun identifying themselves as Heavenherds, which makes the team curious. At the digsite, they find a heavy Russian merc presence on guard, while Apep scientists and technicians are seemingly excavating further in and around the pyramid.
Not wanting to waste time, and fearing what assassins the Black Lodge will send next (along with their ever-increasing bounty), the team decides to get in and out, quickly. After being threatened by Gwynplaine, Fentin has agreed to destroy something of cultural value while dressed in a Harlequin costume, and the team has also agreed to do some damage to the Apep site to bruise their local rep, on behalf of Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries, their erstwhile benefactors. So, a lot of moving parts to the plan. They decide to split into 3 groups.
Group 1: Fentin and Chem, will use forged work orders, as well as a hack to break one of the digsite’s 3D printers, to gain access to the site with a work van, after adding some of their fake SIN’s as approved vendors. They will smuggle in group 2: Toast and Speed, who will infiltrate the pyramid, locate the cache (if it is there) and extract it back to the van, prepared with shielded smuggling compartments. Group 3: Love (in Harlequin costume) and Gethin (with missile launcher) will provide cover for the others to escape as needed, as well as fulfilling GP and SK’s requests to damage the site. Gethin will film Love casting spells in the costume and “leak” the video, and they will flee on a concealed motorcycle while Love makes and illusion of them headed a different way. The 3 groups will reunite at the helicopter and leave Egypt as quickly as needed, depending how the extraction goes.
The first part of the plan goes off without a hitch, and Chem and Fentin fool the onsite spider into believing they are trying to fix the problem while stalling as much as possible. Speed and Toast sneak out of their smuggling compartments and infiltrate the pyramid unnoticed, taking out 2 Russian merc’s silently on the way in. Love and Gethin set up on a nearby dune overlooking the site, and camouflage themselves. Heading further into the pyramid, they get some vid of strange carvings on a new digsite which extends below the known tomb- confirming rumors that the mummy discovered within the upper burial chamber may not have been Unis after all. These carvings seems similar to the one’s seen in Toff’s visions and also at the Inga Stone and elsewhere- older iconography from the 4th World, although these seem to be copies or imitations rather than originals.
Continuing deeper, they find 2 Apep techs discussing some sort of lethal failure, and quickly kill both after one of the techs spots them. They find a disturbing pile of body bags, containing fresh metahuman bits but not full bodies, which seem to have all been bisected by large stone teeth of some sort. They head through a hermetic seal into the next chamber, and find a small knife in a basin on the floor, with a channel leading to a large stone door carved with a sphinx. Speed squeezes one of the dead tech into the basin, and the sphinx carving “awakens,” speaking into their minds of the delicious taste of an unwilling sacrifice. It promises that if they answer its 2 riddles, it will let them pass. They get the first one right, but the sphinx tries to trick them with the second, which Toast luckily notices, and deduces the correct answer to, based on carvings on the walls of the chamber.
The sphinx, disappointed, rolls to the side, and they find a stale and pitch black chamber, which is quickly disturbed by the sound of the lid of a stone sarcophagus crashing to the floor. They find themselves in a fight with what seems to be a powerful shedim inhabiting Unis’ mummy- possibly a result of his seeking ancient magical power in his time- he may have found something he shouldn’t have, lurking in some deep place. Speed flees in fear, dishonoring herself, but Toast manages to use white phosphorous to defeat the mummy, and then torch the other corpses nearby to prevent the shedim from reinhabiting. He also secures 2 datapads from the slain techs, to review later. Speed returns, ashamed, and grabs the cache out of the tomb- unfortunately, it is open, and very obviously missing some sort of orb. Still valuable, but not complete. They flee the lower chamber, and are disturbed to find one of the dead Russian merc’s vanished- the shedim must have escaped after all!
Up top, Chem and Fentin have noticed some strange looks coming at them from the Russians, but have been unable to figure out what’s going on. Expecting some sort of extortion, they are instead surprised to find themselves under sniper attack. Fentin successfully counter-snipes while Chem, almost killed, scrambles for the van. The van is then destroyed by 2 camo’ed cybersoliders who snuck up on them and also almost take Fentin out. Love and Gethin begin their assault/distraction with fireballs and missiles, destroying the top of the ancient pyramid, and adding another layer of chaos to the situation. Chem and Fentin barely manage to fend off their assailants, and hijack and expedition jeep as Toast and Speed emerge with the cache. They flee as quickly as possible, while Love and Gethin make their getaway as planned.
They reach the chopper no problem, and link up with Toff, who got an emergency evac call at the library and came running. Frosty Jane is already airborne with the supply plane, and tells them they need to move- military planes and copters are scrambling. The trio in the jeep ditches their ride at the edge of the port and sneaks to the chopper, after which they all bail, and head to Istanbul to regroup. Jane informs them that they are all banned from Egypt, seemingly forever, and that Apep is likely after them now as well. She seems upset about the Harlequin ruse but agrees that they didn’t have much choice.
Reviewing the carvings that Speed and Toast recorded, as well as data recovered from the datapads, they discover that the missing object is likely an astral cleanser/warp inhibitor called the Bianchi Sphere, which the Apep team was seemingly after, and rumors of which has apparently lead them to reexamine the tomb in great detail an discover the hidden chambers. Reviewing the Black Lodge intel, they determine that the Zulu Heavenherds are the likely possessors of the Sphere, having possibly emigrated with it to South Africa sometime shortly after Unis’ death. He seems likely to have been infested by the shedim after interacting with some sort of cursed object from the cache. Speaking of which, the team gets their usual rewards: nuyen or cache (ha). Speed gets another blood charm, leaving Toast and Gethin as the only non-blood magic team members. Love takes and bonds with an athame, a bloodthirsty weapon focus usable in the ritual he learned from Jane to store his power.
The team prepares to head to Cape Town, Azania, having found out that their is a new Zulu Nation-backed museum opening there in a few days, after years of construction, and featuring some unannounced “surprise exhibits.”